Four Behaviours of Effective People – 1. Assertiveness

Four Behaviours of Effective People – 1. Assertiveness

This series of four, short blogs will explore at a high level how you can be more effective personally at work through looking at:

  1. Assertiveness
  2. Learning to be pro-active rather than reactive
  3. Managing your time effectively
  4. Influencing others. Stepping out of your comfort zone and learning how to use different influencing styles to suit different situations

This first blog looks at one of the key behaviours of effective people: Assertiveness.  (It’s a deep subject, so this is aimed at giving you a brief insight and some pointers if you would like to learn more).

If you observe the behaviour of an effective person at work, you will notice that that they behave assertively – achieving a positive balance between focusing on their own needs and those of others.

So what can you do to develop more assertive behaviours?

The balance within confidence, communication skills & understanding your client or colleague’s agenda all lead to how assertive we are.   Consider how you behave in the following areas.  An assertive person will answer ‘yes’ to the questions below.  Do you need to get some training or extra insight in order to improve?


  • Am I prepared to ask a question even when I feel out of my depth or uncomfortable?  
  • Am I prepared to challenge others’ assumptions, suggestions and directives when I have doubts, disagree or believe there is a better way?  Am I comfortable saying no?
  • If I’m asked by my boss to go to see him/her, do I see it as positive opportunity (and not assume the worst)?

Communication Skills

  • Do people really understand what I am intending to communicate (or am I sometimes misunderstood?)?   Does my voice get heard?  Do I pay attention to all aspects of my communication (the words, tone and body language)?

Client/Colleague Agenda

  • Do I try to empathise with the other person?  Do I put myself into their world?  Do I really understand their agenda & behaviours?

Everyone can learn the skills to be more assertive – whether they naturally lean towards being passive or aggressive.  A lot of self-awareness and a little training will make a big difference.

Next Steps to Being More Assertive:

  1. “The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do” (EM Gray).  Be honest with yourself.  What one, probably small thing could you do (that you aren’t doing now) that if you did it on a regular basis would make a tremendous difference to your work life?  Identify it, do it and stick to it for a month (by then it may well be becoming a habit…)!
  2. If you think you struggle in some or all of the key behaviours of assertiveness then speak to a reputable coach or training company about some suitable assertiveness training (we would certainly love to help you at Arbre :-)).  It’s never to late to learn.


Look out for Blog no. 2 in our 4 Behaviours of Effective People series: Learning to be Pro-active.


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